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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

March 10, 2017 Aucklanders face largest water crisis in 23 years

Source: NZ Herald

If Aucklanders cannot reduce their water savings by two buckets of water each, which is 20 litres a day, a boiling water notice would be issued.

March 7, 2017 America’s hidden water affordability crisis

Source: Grist

When Elizabeth Mack wondered about a future in which Americans wouldn’t be able to pay for water, a couple of colleagues waved her off. “Don’t be ridiculous,” they said. But the idea niggled at Mack, an assistant professor at the...

March 3, 2017 Add water reporting to companies' sustainability reports

Source: Asia One

A key announcement of Budget 2017 by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat was that water prices will increase by 30 per cent in two phases: this July and July next year - the first increase since 2000. - See more at:

March 2, 2017 Snowpack levels surge in the Sierra Nevada, helping to power California out of drought

Source: LA Times

As of Wednesday, the average snowpack across the entire range was at 185% of normal conditions for the first day of March and at 163% of the April 1 average, the Department of Water Resources said. On the same date in 1983, the...

March 2, 2017 Turning water into energy: The nuts and bolts of hydropower

Source: CNBC

The theory behind hydropower is that we ultimately harness the energy available in the water, that's both in terms of the pressure in the water and the flow rate or the movement of the water

March 1, 2017 Trump moves to kill Obama water rule

Source: The Hill

It’s the first step toward repealing the 2015 water rule, which asserted federal power over small waterways like wetlands and streams for the purposes of controlling pollution under the Clean Water Act. Trump promised on the...

February 28, 2017 Trump Plans to Begin E.P.A. Rollback With Order on Clean Water

Source: NY Times

WASHINGTON — President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back one of former President Barack Obama’s major environmental regulations to protect American waterways, but it will have almost no...

February 24, 2017 Wet weather eases California drought

Source: Reuters

California's years-long dry spell has lifted dramatically during several months of heavy rain and snow, leaving just 17 percent of the most populous U.S. state in conditions that scientists consider to be drought, officials said...

February 23, 2017 Deep Rockies snowpack likely to forestall Colorado River water shortage

Source: Las Vegas Review

With snow piling up in the mountains that feed the Colorado River, the short-term outlook for Lake Mead has suddenly improved. But new research warns of more trouble ahead.

February 21, 2017 Expect to see more emergencies like Oroville Dam in a hotter world

Source: The Guardian

Scientists predicted decades ago that climate change would add stress to water management systems like Oroville Dam

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